Your Nutrisystem Getting Started Guide

Article posted in: Nutrisystem

Excited. Nervous. Cautiously optimistic. Do these words describe the way you’re feeling, now that your very first Nutrisystem shipment has been delivered to your door? It’s completely normal to be filled with nervous excitement. After all, the arrival of your first Nutrisystem box signifies the official first step toward a happier and healthier you! So, take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back, do a happy dance or call all your friends. Begin your weight loss journey on the right track with this Nutrisystem Getting Started Guide!

On the Nutrisystem Diabetes plan? Click here to be redirected to your Getting Started Guide! >

1. Join the Official Nutrisystem® Support Community

We believe that peer support and education help make achieving weight loss goals possible. The Official Nutrisystem Support Community is a Facebook group to connect and support members who are on a journey to better health with Nutrisystem. We encourage you to use this space to make meaningful connections, share ideas and experiences, learn, connect with Nutrisystem® experts, and grow with other individuals who are working towards a common goal of better health through weight loss with Nutrisystem.

Make sure to turn on your group notifications so you don’t miss a thing! Join The Official Nutrisystem Support Community right here. >

2. Download the NuMi® App

Research shows that tracking your food, activity and weight can help you lose more weight. Maximize your results by downloading our free tracking app, NuMi! Here, you’ll be able to start logging your food, drinks, activity, weight and more. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable, and also a fun way to visually track your progress.

NuMi is an accountability coach, meal-planning mentor and cheerleader all wrapped up in one! Download the NuMi app for FREE on your Smartphone’s App store or Google Play. You can also access it on desktop at

Pro Tip: Activate NuMi SmartAdapt™ for Personalized Nutrition!

In NuMi, we also offer personalized nutrition plans through the NuMi SmartAdapt feature. When you enable NuMi SmartAdapt, we create a calorie goal designed for your unique metabolism with a personalized meal plan to match. During your journey, NuMi SmartAdapt will adjust your daily calorie goal when you hit certain weight loss milestones to prevent weight loss plateaus. The goal is to help you achieve long term success. It’s a plan that adapts to YOU.

You can enable NuMi SmartAdapt after you select your plan in NuMi. You can also go to MORE > SETTINGS > PLAN SETTINGS to select a plan and get started.

3. Clear Some Space and Sort Your Stash

Ready to get started with your first Nutrisystem order? The first thing you’ll want to do is to make some room in your pantry or freezer (depending on what you ordered) for all of your food. Choose a spot that’s easily accessible, preferably removed your family’s less healthy stash.

Pantry-ready foods will arrive in a cardboard box that’s Personally Packed for You.

If your order includes pantry-ready foods, you don’t need to worry about refrigerating them—they’ve been sealed through a safe, “soft canning” process which locks in their nutrition and flavor. These items can safely be stored in your cabinets.

Frozen foods are delivered in a white styrofoam cooler with dry ice.

If your order includes frozen foods, you’ll want to place them in the freezer as soon as your delivery arrives. Frozen foods may arrive in a separate shipment from your pantry-ready foods. They will be marked “Keep Frozen” on the label. If you receive your frozen foods first, wait to get started until you receive the non-frozen shipment. This will include your meal plan pamphlet.

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When the package arrives with your first month of meals and snacks, take the time to put away and organize your items. Keeping an organized kitchen will be helpful on those busy days you just want to grab and go!

Nutrisystem meals and snacks are color-coded for your convenience:

  • Breakfasts have yellow labels
  • Lunches have blue labels
  • Dinners have red labels
  • Snacks have purple labels

4. Your Month 1 Overview

Nutrisystem is easy to follow and proven to work. Whether you need to drop a lot of weight or just get a little healthier, your plan is designed to work from the start.

Week 1

Get fired up for steady weight loss with 7 full days of delicious Nutrisystem meals and protein shakes. The first week of the program is designed to reboot your body and kickstart your weight loss. It’s simple to follow and lower in calories to jumpstart your results.

Each day during your first week, you’ll enjoy:

  • 1 Nutrisystem Breakfast
  • 1 Nutrisystem Shake
  • 1 Nutrisystem Lunch
  • 1 Nutrisystem Dinner
  • 1 Nutrisystem Snack
  • At least 4 servings of Non-Starchy Vegetables (Unlimited!)
  • At least 64 oz. of Water (8 cups)
  • More than 100 lbs. to lose? Add 2 PowerFuels to your day

Week 1 Tips for Success:

  • Load up your plate with Non-Starchy Vegetables: They make a great snack if you’re hungry and can bulk up any Nutrisystem meal.
  • Free Foods are allowed in Week 1: Add unlimited flavor to your meals and veggies with spices, herbs, lemon juice, hot sauce, vinegar and more.
  • Enjoy zero-calorie beverages like black coffee, unsweetened tea and flavored seltzer water.
  • Try to limit your physical activity in Week 1. This gives your body time to adjust.
  • Space your meals and snacks 2-4 hours apart.
  • Hearty Inspirations premium meals are not recommended for Week 1.

Confused about your first week? Click here for a complete overview >

On a Diabetes plan? You’ll skip this separate Week 1 meal plan due to the calorie restrictions. Instead, you will follow the meal plan provided in your Getting Started Guide and NuMi app.

On Nutrisystem Complete? You’ll skip this separate Week 1 meal plan and follow the meal plan provided in your Getting Started Guide and NuMi app.

Week 2 and Beyond

Going into week 2, your plan is designed for healthy, steady weight loss (1-2 pounds per week). You’ll continue enjoying Nutrisystem foods and complete your weekly menu with grocery add-ins and Flex meals.

The biggest difference is that you will start adding in PowerFuels, SmartCarbs and Extras. Most plans also get more flexibility with weekly Flex meals and snacks. Just like in Week 1, you will add in Non-Starchy Vegetables, Water and Free Foods.

On most days, you’ll enjoy:

  • 1 Nutrisystem Breakfast
  • 1 Nutrisystem Lunch
  • 1 Nutrisystem Dinner
  • 1 Nutrisystem Snack (Men get 2 Nutrisystem Snacks)
  • PowerFuels (# varies by plan)
  • SmartCarbs (# varies by plan)
  • At least 4 servings of Non-Starchy Vegetables (Unlimited!)
  • At least 64 oz. of Water (8 cups)
  • 3 Extras (Optional!)

You’ll add PowerFuels and SmartCarbs throughout each day. The specific amount and meal occasion that you add them will depend on your Nutrisystem program.

With most Nutrisystem plans, you’ll also choose when to enjoy Flex meals. With Flex meals, you can make a healthy meal at home or go out to eat! You’ll eat 2 Flex breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks each week (men prepare 4 Flex snacks). Flex meals will replace your Nutrisystem entrée for that meal occasion. See the section on Flex Meals and Snacks below for more information!

Week 2 and Beyond Tips for Success:

  • Don’t deprive yourself! Daily grocery add-ins are a delicious part of your plan and they’re essential to your success.
  • We recommend exercising for 30 minutes each day. Activity can be broken up into three 10-minute sessions to fit your schedule. Learn more about My Daily 3! >
  • If you need some Flex meal inspiration, check out The Leaf for thousands of tasty recipes!
  • Running short on time? You can add additional Nutrisystem meals and snacks to your monthly order and skip Flex meals.
  • Stock up on Nutrisystem Protein Shakes for easy PowerFuels: 1 Shake = 1 PowerFuel!
  • Hearty Inspirations premium meals cut down on grocery add-ins: They count as 1 Nutrisystem Dinner + 1 PowerFuel + 1 Vegetable serving on the program.
  • More than 100 lbs. to lose? Add 1 PowerFuel and 1 SmartCarb to your plan each day unless you are using NuMi SmartAdapt.

Get a 28-Day Sample Meal Plan for your first month on Nutrisystem! Click here to download and print an easy-to-follow sample meal plan for your specific Nutrisystem program >

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5. Get Familiar with the Grocery Guide

While Nutrisystem has most of your meals and snacks covered, you still get to add in some of your favorite grocery additions. In fact, it’s part of the program. Below is a general overview of what you should be eating in addition to your Nutrisystem foods each day:


Packed with fiber and nutrients, non-starchy vegetables are a low-calorie way to stay full while you lose weight. Add these veggies to your Nutrisystem meals, Flex meals or snacks! They are the perfect choice to fill up and stay satisfied during week 1 and beyond.

  • Since non-starchy vegetables are packed with nutrition and low in calories, they are unlimited on Nutrisystem.
  • They include familiar staples like leafy greens, broccoli, onions and tomatoes.
  • Each day on Nutrisystem, you should be eating at least 4 servings of non-starchy vegetables.
  • 1 Vegetable serving = ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables.
  • Note: Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes and peas are higher and carbs and calories, so they count as SmartCarbs.


Lean proteins and healthy fats can make any weight loss plan more satisfying, delicious and easy to stick to. We call them PowerFuels. These grocery add-ins are often the stars of our dinner plates and make the best smart and filling snacks.

  • PowerFuel grocery add-ins consist of healthy fats and high-quality proteins. They provide energy, keep you satisfied and help maintain muscle.
  • They include items like meat, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds and avocados.
  • 1 PowerFuel = 80-120 calories with at least 5 grams of protein OR at least 8 grams of total fat (with no more than 4 grams of saturated fat).


Did you know that you can still drop pounds and get healthy while enjoying carbs like bread, crackers and pasta? The key is selecting nutrient-rich carbohydrates that contain fiber and sticking to proper portion sizes. We call these nutritious carbs SmartCarbs.

  • SmartCarb grocery add-ins are carbohydrates that contain fiber and typically register low to medium on the Glycemic Index. That means they are digested more slowly, helping you to keep fuller longer.
  • They include items like brown rice, wheat pasta, beans, fresh fruit and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
  • 1 SmartCarb = 80-120 calories with at least 1 gram of fiber. (The more fiber, the better!)

Free Foods (Optional)

Just because you’re eating to lose weight, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavor. Many ingredients that crank up the satisfaction in your meals are considered Free Foods on your Nutrisystem plan, so you can enjoy as much of them as your taste buds desire

  • Free foods contain less calories than Extras but still provide major flavor.
  • They include spices, herbs, lemon juice, hot sauce, low-sodium broth, and certain condiments and beverages.
  • They have less than 10 calories per serving.
  • Because these foods are so low in calories, they are unlimited on your Nutrisystem plan.

Extras (Optional)

Adding flavor to your food can pile on calories without you even realizing it. To help you become more aware of this, Nutrisystem categorizes such foods as Extras. You can use these optional add-ins to spice up your meals or to make them more satisfying.

  • Extras can make your meals and snacks more sweet, savory, spicy or satisfying.
  • They include ingredients like coffee creamer, salad dressing, honey and condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • 1 Extra = 10 to 35 calories per serving.
  • Stick to a total of 3 Extras per day.

Check out the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide here for a full list of each category! >

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6. Plan Flex Meals and Snacks

Most Nutrisystem plans include Flex Meals—meals and snacks that you create using the easy guidelines we provide.

As you lose today, you are learning a new way to eat and to prepare food for yourself. Flex meals let you practice your new knowledge about healthy ingredients and portion sizes. They help you get ready for a lifetime of eating well and maintaining your healthy weight.

Once you wrap up your first week, most plans get to create 2 Flex breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks each week (men prepare 4 snacks). And they couldn’t be more simple! All it takes is choosing from the five building blocks: PowerFuels, SmartCarbs, Vegetables, Extras (Optional) and Free Foods (Optional).

Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks all have different Flex meal guidelines. Below is an example of what your Flex meals may contain. Please note that if you are on Uniquely Yours Max+ and using NuMi SmartAdapt, these numbers will not apply to you. Find your specific PowerFuel and SmartCarb goals in the NuMi app.

Flex Breakfast

  • Women: 1 SmartCarb + 1 PowerFuel
  • Men: 1 SmartCarb + 2 PowerFuels

Flex Lunch

  • Women: 1 SmartCarb + 1 PowerFuel + at least 1 Vegetable
  • Men: 1 SmartCarb + 2 PowerFuels + at least 1 Vegetable

Flex Dinner

  • Women: 1 SmartCarb + 3 PowerFuels + at least 1 Vegetable
  • Men: 1 SmartCarb + 3 PowerFuels + at least 1 Vegetable

Flex Snack

  • Women: 1 SmartCarb + 1 PowerFuel
  • Men: 1 SmartCarb + 1 PowerFuel

Learn more about Flex meals here! >

Check out our Recipe section for Flex meal inspiration.

7. Hit the Grocery Store

Now that you’ve gotten the Grocery Guide and Flex meals figured out, it’s time to hit the supermarket for all of your essentials. Grab some fruit and starchy veggies, whole grains and beans to cover your SmartCarb needs, and some non-starchy veggies for your Vegetables. Frozen fruits and veggies are great as well, so if grabbing bags of frozen produce is easier for you, by all means, go ahead! Just be sure to avoid options that include added sugars or sauces, as they can add unwanted sugar, fat and calories.

You may want to think about how you plan to eat your produce. If you’re making smoothies, do you need other ingredients, like fat-free milk or almond milk? If you’re going to prepare a week’s worth of mason jar salads, do you need jars or salad dressing? We suggest heading to the store at an off-peak time so you have time to peruse the aisles. Bring along your Grocery Guide so you can determine which items will work best. Even easier? Figure out what PowerFuels, SmartCarbs, Vegetables, etc. you’d like to purchase before you go shopping, and hit the store with a Nutrisystem-friendly grocery list in hand.

8. Measure Up

The scale doesn’t always tell the whole story. Grab a tape measure and write down your stats today, then log your measurements in NuMi, our free online tracker. Documenting your weight and measurements are both a great way to hold yourself accountable and doing it in NuMi will give you a great visual of your success. You can also take before after pictures!

Need some guidance on how to measure yourself? Check out the article below for everything you need to know.

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Still Have Questions?

You’re not alone! You can maximize your weight-loss success by reaching out for help and taking advantage of the many resources available with your Nutrisystem plan.

If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your program, or if you’re just needing a little support, you can call, email or chat online with one of our Nutrisystem Weight Loss Coaches. They are here to help with any question, no matter how big or small!

Peer support and education help make achieving weight loss goals possible. Join our Facebook support group to make meaningful connections, share ideas and experiences, learn, connect with Nutrisystem experts, and grow with others who are working towards a common goal.

Find a complete list of answers about the program, food-related questions, ordering info, getting started and more in our FAQs.

*It’s important to know that changing your diet or exercise or losing weight could affect some medical conditions and medications. Your doctor may need to adjust your medications due to changes in your diet, exercise, or weight while on Nutrisystem. Make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any weight loss program, including Nutrisystem. Please be sure to eat all of the food that is recommended on the Nutrisystem program. Failure to follow the program and eat all of the food recommended may increase the risk of developing serious health complications. At Nutrisystem, we care about you. That’s why we champion safe, effective weight loss—no fads, no gimmicks, just better health. For more information, contact the Nutrition Support Team at or 1-888-995-3438